Ryan Lukeman


I received a Ph.D. in 2009 from UBC, supervised by Yue-Xian Li & Leah Edelstein-Keshet, as a member of the Mathematical Biology group and Institute of Applied Mathematics.

I started at St.F.X. in 2009, where I teach courses in applied mathematics, and conduct research in collective behaviour and mathematical biology, focusing on connecting mathematical models to empirical data.

Associate Professor, St. Francis Xavier uNIVERsity

office: Annex 20A

phone: 902 867 4920

email: rlukeman at stfx.ca

Dept. Mathematics, Statistics           & Computer Science,

St. F. X. University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5


  1. May, 2018: Kirsten Gallant (NSHRF grant), Courtney MacDonald (NSERC USRA), and Ellen McCole begin summer research positions.

  1. January, 2018: New paper studying collective human rhythmic behaviour, through clapping, appears in Nature Scientific Reports. Link

  1. September 2017: New paper on effects of familiarity in collective fish motion. Link

  1. May 2017: Christa Bews and Josee Carr begin summer research positions

  1. NSERC Discovery Grant renewed for 5 years

  1. August 2016: Matt Eliot begins work on evaluating risk in gull-scoter interactions

  1. January 2016: New paper with former student Alexis Christie, Goal-dependent current compensation and drift in surf scoter flocks, appears in the journal Movement Ecology

  1. October 2015: Slides for MTA Conference available here.

  1. June 2015: New paper with former student Gabby Vasey and StFX Biology professor Russell Wyeth, Additional navigational strategies can augment odor-gated rheotaxis for navigation under conditions of variable flow, appears in Integrative and Comparative Biology

  1. May 2015: a StFX News article about former students Gabrielle Vasey and Michael Thomson, both pursuing graduate studies in economics

  1. May 2015: Awarded Outstanding Teaching Award at StFX

  1. May 2015: Aggie Hennessey and Jordan Vosman (NSERC USRA) begin summer research positions. Aggie is working on image transformations for locating birds on a wire, and Jordan is working on data collection of flocks of farm ducks and chickens.

  1. May 2014: New paper, Ordering dynamics in collectively swimming Surf Scoters, in Journal of Theoretical Biology

  1. May 2014: Adam Douthwright and Michael Thomson (NSERC USRA) begin summer research positions.

  1. May 2013: Gabrielle Vasey (NSERC USRA), Anisha Dhalla (NSERC USRA) and Kennedy Murphy begin summer research positions. Gabrielle is working on odour-gated rheotaxis modelling, and natural resource modelling. Anisha is working on analyzing kleptoparasitic interactions within moving animal groups, and Kennedy is working on collective rhythm. 

  1. May 2012: Alexis Christie (NSERC USRA) and Gabrielle Vasey (UCR award) begin summer research positions. Alexis is working on effects of currents in collective animal motion, and Gabrielle is working on odour-gated rheotaxis modeling.

  1. Nov 2011: Research featured in Dynamical Systems Magazine. See link.

  1. July 2011: Research featured in German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel (in german)

  1. April 2011: Research featured on cover of AMS Notices, the world’s most widely read mathematics magazine. The feature was part of a special issue on Complexity.


        about the cover (Bill Casselman)   Full Resolution                   

  1. March 2011: 5 year NSERC Discovery Grant awarded.

  1. January 2011: Presented at the City University of New York program on Collective Phenomena in Biological Systems.

  1. July 2010: Research featured in News@StFX. See link.

  1. July 2010: Latest publication featured in ‘Research Highlights’ in the weekly journal of science, Nature. See link.

  1. July 2010: ‘Inferring individual rules from collective behaviour’ (R. Lukeman, Y.X. Li, and L. Edelstein-Keshet) appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See publication page for a link to the paper.

  1. May 2010: Corbin Hudson begins a summer research position on modelling odour-gated rheotaxis in Tritonia.

  1. November 2009: Presented at Princeton University workshop on   Natural Algorithms.